142:  What Befell Onix

I was among the first to reach Essex House.

It were well-guarded, but by our friends.  I ran in with the lords and gentlemen coming from the boats.

There was great commotions, so I sought shelter ’neath a table in the hall.

And was mazed to be assailed by scents of cloves and cinnamon.

Onix.  I was not joyed to see him.

A black and while cat peering out from underneath a small table covered by a carpet.“What do you here?” I arrkst.  “All have been proclaimed traitors.  We’re like to hang.”

Then I nosed something more.  I sayt, “Who gave you leave to make water in this house?”

“I could hold it in no longer,” sayt Onix, humble.  “I’ve been imprisoned here all day.”

Then he told what befell him.

He’d slipped out of his house before ’twas light, meaning to keep watch at Essex House unseen.  What goings and comings there’d been!  

Onix sayt Essex hisself had gone early to the citie, and returned.

“That cannot be true,” sayt I, but he swore it were.  And he’d seen Lady Rich (she that I call Pretty Penny) come to the house with some gentlemen.

When it turned light he meant to go, but – being curious – crept along the garden wall to the street.  

He’d not sat there long before he saw some venerable gentlemen seeking entry to Essex House in the name of the Queen.

“Then,” whispered Onix, “I done a fool thing.”

Wishing to learn more, and thinking what a good report he could bring me and Linkin, he sprang down from where he sat and concealed hisself by a little gate.

Then that little gate was oped to admit the Queen’s gentlemen!

Caught betwixt the gate and their feet, Onix had no choice but to run the onlie way he could.  Forward.   Fearing at everie moment to be kicked or tramped on.

“Sure, their dignitie saved you,” sayt I.  “The Queen’s old men would not wish to be seen to do no more at Essex House than kick a cat.”

“But what a hell I was in!” cried Onix.  “The court [courtyard] were throng.  Then came Lord Essex with your Earl and another lord.

“The chief old gentleman told Lord Essex they were sent to know the cause of so great an assembly at his house.

The chief old gentleman:  Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper (i.e. of the Great Seal of State).

“Lord Essex sayt there was a plot laid against his life, and that false letters were writ under his name.  They were met to defend theirselves and save their lives.

“Another of the old gentlemen sayt that if Lord Essex told him plain what had been attempted, he would report it truly to the Queen, and Lord Essex would be justly and lawfully heard.

Your Earl spake of Lord Grey’s assalt on him.  The second old gentleman sayt that Lord Grey was imprisoned for it.

“And all the while Lord Essex’s friends were calling that time was passing, and they should make haste away.

“The chief old gentleman bristled up, and commanded them to lay down their arms.

“None heeded him.  There came wicked calls of, Hang them!  Lock them up!

An elderly man in red fur-trimmed robes.
Another of the old gentlemen: the Lord Chief Justice Sir John Popham.

“The Lord Essex took the old gentlemen into his house for their safety.  And I – running under the hem of one’s gown to pass as a fur trim – went too.

“The gentlemen were led up the stairs.  Lord Essex sayt they must have patience for a while.  He was going to the citie to meet the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs, and would soon return.

“Then he and all quit the house and went into the street,”  sayt Onix.

I sayt, “I followed them through the citie.  They came too late to find the Lord Mayor at Paws [St Pauls].  There was none willing to aid them.”

Then I arrkst, “Where are the Queen’s old men now?”

“A gentleman came here not long since, and went away with them.  They was joyed to go, but I durst not follow.  This is the worstest day of my life.”

It promised to be the best of mine.

“Courage, friend,” sayt I.  “When next you have a chance to flee, do so.  There’s now no hope for us.  But I’m sworn to live or die in the service of Essex and my Earl, and will face our foes heroick.”

Toutparmoi - Note from the EditorPoor Onix, caught up among four venerable gentlemen.  The Lord Keeper and the Lord Chief Justice were two; the others were the Earl of Worcester and Sir William Knollys, who was Comptroller of the Queen’s Household and also Essex’s and Penelope Rich’s uncle.

None was regarded by Essex as an enemy.   At least two (Sir Thomas Egerton and Sir William Knollys) may have been well-disposed towards him.  Unfortunately, they spent much longer under guard in Essex House than expected, though Lady Essex and Penelope Rich kept them company.

The man who arrived at Essex House just ahead of Tricks and Essex himself was Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who’d been in the city with Essex.  A cousin of Essex’s arch-enemy Sir Walter Ralegh, he had a foot in each camp.  Sir Ferdinando ordered the release of the officials and returned to Whitehall with them.  Essex must have been shattered to find them – hostages or last hope – gone.


22 thoughts on “142:  What Befell Onix

  1. leggypeggy August 2, 2018 / 12:09 am

    I’ve had a very long day. I needed a cat chat. Hope Onix does well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toutparmoi August 2, 2018 / 12:19 am

      So do I! Whose curiosity hasn’t got them into a tight spot or two?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. April Munday August 2, 2018 / 1:11 am

    It might be the best day of Tricks’ life, but it’s beginning to look as if it might also be the last. I hope she acts wisely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 2, 2018 / 1:21 am

      I’ve reached the conclusion that Tricks likes nothing better than a good surge of adrenalin, but I don’t think she’d be willing to die in anyone’s service. She just likes the phrase.

      Liked by 1 person

    • April Munday August 2, 2018 / 1:52 am

      Yes, I thought she probably wasn’t that committed to the cause, but sometimes these things happen anyway. You can always be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 2, 2018 / 2:18 am

      The choice of “venerable gentlemen” is interesting. I suspect Essex may have been given enough rope to hang himself. I wonder what would have happened if he’d put his faith in them rather than the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs?

      Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 2, 2018 / 1:58 am

      Good to see you back in the blogosphere, Mick. I was wondering about how you were doing just the other day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. larrypaulbrown August 2, 2018 / 3:20 am

    One of life’s challenges – be curious and in peril or be safe and bored.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 2, 2018 / 3:57 am

      So true! I’ve spent chunks of my life doing one or the other, and it’s the being curious and in peril bits that I remember with pleasure. Mind you, I could run much faster in the days when I favoured curiosity over safety.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dornahainds August 6, 2018 / 1:32 am

    O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. I think this entanglement grows farther yet, no? 😎🥀

    Liked by 1 person

    • toutparmoi August 6, 2018 / 9:16 am

      A very elaborate web has been spun here, and the Earls of Essex and Southampton are well and truly caught!


  5. Robyn Haynes August 25, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    So exciting! I loved ‘And I – running under the hem of one’s gown to pass as a fur trim – went too.’ Great tactics.

    Liked by 1 person

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